Downtown Westfield Corporation (DWC) recently received a Transformation Grant from the Main Street New Jersey (MSNJ) Program and will use the $20,000 grant award to partially fund a mural at the South Avenue circle underpass.
This year marks the first time in its 30-year history that the MSNJ Program has awarded grants to designated MSNJ district organizations around the state. The grant funding is part of a larger effort by the Murphy Administration and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which administers MSNJ, to commit more resources to community revitalization programs that focus on small businesses and neighborhood improvement projects.
“Downtown business districts play such an important role in the economic and social health of our communities, which is why Governor Murphy and I have invested significant resources in the Main Street New Jersey Program,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “This investment includes awarding Main Street grants for the first time ever to help downtowns with improvement projects, placemaking, and transformation strategies. All of these grant-funded activities are scheduled to be completed by year’s end and we can’t wait to see how they positively impact downtowns around the state.”
The mural represents the work of Ricardo Roig, local artist and creator of the images of Westfield. It is designed to connect the South side and North side separated by the train and be a platform for additional public art in the future.
According to Sherry Cronin, DWC Executive Director, and applicant for the grant, stated “I’m pleased that I was able to acquire this grant on behalf of Downtown Westfield. Main Street NJ has been very supportive over the years with grant opportunities and zero percent loans for improvements to the district.”.
Established in 1989, the MSNJ Program helps municipalities improve the economy, appearance, and image of their central business districts through the organization of local citizens and resources. Municipalities must apply and be selected to join the MSNJ Program. These designated communities receive technical support and training to assist in restoring their Main Streets as centers of economic and social activity.
This year, designated communities were also eligible for the MSNJ Transformation Grants, which are funding awards of $25,000 or less aimed at assisting projects such as storefront improvement, placemaking, and transformation strategies development that can be completed in six months or less.
Downtown Westfield Corporation is the management entity of the Special Improvement District and a designated Main Street organization since 1993.
Photo: Acting NJ Governor Sheila Y. Oliver poses for a picture on July 31 with Sherry Cronin, Beth Brenner and Jamie Lemberg of the DWC in South Orange to announce the award of nearly $350,000 in Main Street Grants to 17 Main Street district organizations throughout the state. Westfield received $20,000 to partially fund a mural at the South Avenue circle underpass.